Putting the comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) into perspective: Five Key Points

Opinion Piece by Bryan Mercurio is Simon F.S. Li Professor of Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong

On 30 December 2020, the European Union (EU) and China ‘in principle’ concluded negotiations on a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) .
The European Commission published the text of the CAI on 22 January 2021. The agreement has been welcomed by the business community but criticised by civil society and the United States (US).

This brief article does not attempt to analyse the entirety of the agreement but instead makes five points.

1) The CAI is a unique agreement (that creates unique challenges)

2) The agreement will not dramatically change the landscape for European investors and service providers

3) Sustainable development provisions will not change the landscape in China, nor should they be expected to do so

4) China benefits from the CAI in subtle ways

5) Cooperation or confrontation with the US?

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